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exCITE Talks

exCITE Talks is a new competition at the University of Houston that recognizes the role that co-curricular learning experiences plays in students' academic and professional development.

Undergraduate students selected for the competition will compete to deliver the best exCITE Talk, a three-minute elevator pitch, accompanied by a single slide. Amazon gift cards (1st prize: $500; 2nd: $250; 3rd $150; People’s Choice: $100) will be awarded to the students who receiving the top scores at the final competition on September 24.

Applications for exCITE Talks were due by 5:00 PM on August 30.



An elevator pitch is a short speech that communicates the significance of an experience, idea, or proposal to an audience who is unfamiliar with the speaker and topic.

In the exCITE Talks competition, these elevator pitches must describe the significance and impact of an intensive, summer co-curricular experience. exCITE Talks cannot be more than three minutes in duration and must be accompanied by a single slide.


A co-curricular experience is an outside-of-the-classroom activity that relates to your academic course work. Some examples of co-curricular activities include internships, learning abroad, learning away, research assistantships, and service learning that relate to your academic program or goals. 


Applications were due by 5:00 pm on Friday, August 30.

Students selected for the competition will be notified by September 6, 2019. Due the volume of applications, we will not be able to provide feedback on individual applications.

All contestants must attend one of the two elevator pitch workshops on September 11 at either 11:00 - 11:50 am or 12:00 -12:50 pm in the Honors College Commons.

The preliminary competition will be held on the afternoon of September 18 in the Midtown Room (Student Center South). Scheduling information will be sent to students who qualify for this competition.

The final competition will be held on September 24 at 4:00 pm in the Midtown Room (Student Center South). The competition will be followed by a reception and awards ceremony.


This elevator pitch competition is open to undergraduate students at the University of Houston Main Campus, who participated in an intensive co-curricular experience during the summer of 2019 (May 4 - August 18, 2019).

To qualify as an intensive experience for the exCITE Talks competition, the co-curricular activity must have been at least 40 hours in duration. For travel programs, the duration of the trip counts toward this requirement as well as any pre- or post-trip meetings or requirements.

Contestants must have been enrolled at the University of Houston Main Campus in the spring of 2019 and be enrolled for the fall of 2019.

Students who are invited to compete must attend one of the two Elevator Pitch Workshops scheduled for September 11 to participate in the Preliminary Round on September 18.

Winners must be present to receive prizes on September 24.


All applications to the exCITE Talks competition will be reviewed by members of the CITE Advisory Board or CITE office staff who will invite the students whose applications best articulate the significance of their summer experience to participate in the Preliminary Round of the competition.

All exCITE Talks will be evaluated by a panel of judges, made up up of faculty and staff.

Your presentation must conform to the following rules:

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is required. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


A copy of the scoring rubric is available here.